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[kik] /kɪk/
verb (used with object)
to strike with the foot or feet:
to kick the ball; to kick someone in the shins.
to drive, force, make, etc., by or as if by kicks.
Football. to score (a field goal or a conversion) by place-kicking or drop-kicking the ball.
Informal. to make (a car) increase in speed, especially in auto racing:
He kicked his car into high gear.
to strike in recoiling:
The gun kicked his shoulder.
Slang. to give up or break (a drug addiction):
Has he kicked the habit?
Poker. raise (def 24).
Chiefly South Atlantic States. to reject as a suitor; jilt:
He courted her for two years—then she kicked him.
verb (used without object)
to make a rapid, forceful thrust with the foot or feet:
He kicked at the ball. You have to kick rapidly when using a crawl stroke.
to have a tendency to strike with the foot or feet:
That horse kicks when you walk into his stall.
Informal. to resist, object, or complain:
What's he got to kick about?
to recoil, as a firearm when fired.
to be actively or vigorously involved:
He's still alive and kicking.
the act of kicking; a blow or thrust with the foot or feet.
power or disposition to kick:
That horse has a mean kick.
Informal. an objection or complaint.
  1. thrill; pleasurable excitement:
    His biggest kick comes from telling about the victory.
  2. a strong but temporary interest, often an activity:
    Making mobiles is his latest kick.
  1. a stimulating or intoxicating quality in alcoholic drink.
  2. vim, vigor, or energy.
  1. an instance of kicking the ball.
  2. any method of kicking the ball:
    place kick.
  3. a kicked ball.
  4. the distance such a ball travels.
  5. a turn at kicking the ball.
a recoil, as of a gun.
Slang. a pocket:
He kept his wallet in his side kick.
kicks, Slang. shoe (def 1).
  1. a solid glass base or an indentation at the base of drinking glasses, bottles, etc., that reduces the liquid capacity of the glassware.
  2. Also called punt, kick-up. an indentation at the base of a wine bottle, originally for trapping the sediment.
Verb phrases
kick about, to move from place to place frequently:
He kicked about a good deal before settling down.
kick around, Informal.
  1. to treat (someone) harshly or inconsiderately.
  2. to consider, discuss, or speculate about (a proposal, project, etc.):
    We kicked around various ideas for raising money.
  3. to experiment with.
  4. to pass time idly; wander from place to place aimlessly:
    We just kicked around for a year after college.
  5. to remain unused, unemployed, or unnoticed:
    The script has been kicking around for years.
kick back,
  1. to recoil, especially vigorously or unexpectedly.
  2. Informal. to give someone a kickback.
  3. Slang. to return (stolen property, money, etc.) to the owner.
  4. to relax:
    Let's just kick back and enjoy the weekend.
kick in,
  1. to contribute one's share, especially in money.
  2. Slang. to die.
  3. to become operational; activate; go into effect:
    The air conditioning kicks in when the temperature reaches 80°F.
kick off,
  1. Football. to begin play or begin play again by a kickoff:
    The Giants won the toss and elected to kick off.
  2. Slang. to die.
  3. to initiate (an undertaking, meeting, etc.); begin:
    A rally tomorrow night will kick off the campaign.
kick on, to switch on; turn on:
He kicked on the motor and we began to move.
kick out, Informal.
  1. to oust or eject:
    They have been kicked out of the country club.
  2. to fail; give out:
    The power kicked out and the room went black.
  3. to separate off, as for review or inspection:
    The computer kicked out the information in a split second.
  4. Surfing. to turn a surfboard by shifting the weight to the rear, causing the surfboard to come down over the top of a wave, in order to stop a ride.
kick over, Informal. (of an internal-combustion engine) to begin ignition; turn over:
The engine kicked over a few times but we couldn't get it started.
kick up,
  1. to drive or force upward by kicking.
  2. to stir up (trouble); make or cause (a disturbance, scene, etc.):
    They kicked up a tremendous row.
  3. (especially of a machine part) to move rapidly upward:
    The lever kicks up, engaging the gear.
  4. kip5 (def 2).
kick ass, Slang: Vulgar.
  1. to act harshly or use force in order to gain a desired result.
  2. to defeat soundly.
Also, Slang, kick butt.
kick in the ass, Slang: Vulgar. kick (def 35a).
kick in the pants, Informal.
  1. someone or something that is very exciting, enjoyable, amusing, etc.:
    I think you'll like her, she's a real kick in the pants.
  2. kick (def 36).
kick in the teeth, an abrupt, often humiliating setback; rebuff:
Her refusal even to talk to me was a kick in the teeth.
kick over the traces. trace2 (def 3).
kick the bucket, Slang. bucket (def 15).
kick the tin, Australian. to give a donation; contribute.
kick upstairs, upstairs (def 8).
Origin of kick
1350-1400; Middle English kiken (v.); origin uncertain
Related forms
kickable, adjective
kickless, adjective
outkick, verb (used with object)
overkick, verb (used with object)
1. boot. 11. remonstrate; oppose. 11, 16. grumble, growl, grouch, moan; protest. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kick
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So saying, he thrust his boot into the snow, intending to kick it over the girl.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • "I think you oughter make a kick, sir," said Dixon, hesitatingly.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • She could scratch, kick, and bite—and stab too; but for stabbing she wanted a knife.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Not at all, plase your honour—I say it was well but I got a kick of the baast.

  • Stop that barkin', now, you whelp, Or I'll kick you till you yelp!

    Farm Ballads Will Carleton
British Dictionary definitions for kick


(transitive) to drive or impel with the foot
(transitive) to hit with the foot or feet
(intransitive) to strike out or thrash about with the feet, as in fighting or swimming
(intransitive) to raise a leg high, as in dancing
(of a gun, etc) to recoil or strike in recoiling when fired
(transitive) (rugby)
  1. to make (a conversion or a drop goal) by means of a kick
  2. to score (a goal) by means of a kicked conversion
(transitive) (soccer) to score (a goal) by a kick
(intransitive) (athletics) to put on a sudden spurt
(intransitive) to make a sudden violent movement
(intransitive) (cricket) (of a ball) to rear up sharply
(informal) (intransitive) sometimes foll by against. to object or resist
(intransitive) (informal) to be active and in good health (esp in the phrase alive and kicking)
(informal) to change gear in (a car, esp a racing car): he kicked into third and passed the bigger car
(transitive) (informal) to free oneself of (an addiction, etc): to kick heroin, to kick the habit
kick against the pricks, See prick (sense 20)
kick into touch
  1. (rugby, soccer) to kick the ball out of the playing area and into touch See touch (sense 15)
  2. (informal) to take some temporizing action so that a problem is shelved or a decision postponed
kick one's heels, to wait or be kept waiting
kick over the traces, See trace2 (sense 3)
(slang) kick the bucket, to die
(informal) kick up one's heels, to enjoy oneself without inhibition
a thrust or blow with the foot
any of certain rhythmic leg movements used in swimming
the recoil of a gun or other firearm
(informal) a stimulating or exciting quality or effect (esp in the phrases get a kick out of or for kicks)
(athletics) a sudden spurt, acceleration, or boost
a sudden violent movement
(informal) the sudden stimulating or intoxicating effect of strong alcoholic drink or certain drugs
(informal) power or force
(slang) a temporary enthusiasm: he's on a new kick every week
(slang) kick in the pants
  1. a reprimand or scolding designed to produce greater effort, enthusiasm, etc, in the person receiving it
  2. a setback or disappointment
(slang) kick in the teeth, a humiliating rebuff
Derived Forms
kickable, adjective
Word Origin
C14 kiken, perhaps of Scandinavian origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kick

late 14c., "to strike out with the foot" (earliest in biblical phrase now usually rendered as kick against the pricks), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse kikna "bend backwards, sink at the knees." "The doubts OED has about the Scandinavian origin of kick are probably unfounded" [Liberman]. Related: Kicked; kicking.

Figurative sense of "complain, protest, rebel against" (late 14c.) probably is from the Bible verse. Slang sense of "die" is attested from 1725 (kick the wind was slang for "be hanged," 1590s; see also bucket). Meaning "to end one's drug habit" is from 1936. Kick in "contribute" is from 1908; kick out "expel" is from 1690s. To kick oneself in self-reproach is from 1891. The children's game of kick the can is attested from 1891.


1520s, from kick (v.). Meaning "recoil (of a gun) when fired" is from 1826. Meaning "surge or fit of pleasure" (often as kicks) is from 1941; originally literally, "stimulation from liquor or drugs" (1844). The kick "the fashion" is c.1700.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for kick



  1. : If you got any kicks, you can always quit (1839+)
  2. A pocket, esp a pants pocket: I have a hundred thousand boo-boos in the kick (1849+)
  3. A surge or fit of pleasure; a feeling of joy and delight; belt, charge: He was having a real kick/ I get a kick out of you (1941+)
  4. Anything that gives one a feeling of pleasure, joy, etc: That's a kick. Ridin' a guy down Wilshire in daylight (1941+)
  5. A strong personal predilection; thing: Arthur is on the Paris kick/ several opportunities to let her wail on a comic kick (1940s+)
  6. Power; impact; potency: One of those stories with a kick (1844+)
  7. A shoe: Hey, nice kicks (1904+)
  8. A spurt of speed at the end of a footrace: Full into his kick as he passed them (1980s+ Sports)


  1. To complain; protest; bitch: She can just kick all she wants to (1388+)
  2. To end one's drug habit; become ''clean'' (1936+ Narcotics)

Related Terms

get a kick out of someone or something, on a roll, sidekick

[pocket sense fr late 17thcentury kicks, ''breeches'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with kick
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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